Earlier this week, President Donald Trump told farmers in Nashville, Tenn., they were lucky he gave them the privilege of voting for him.
“Oh, are you happy you voted for me,” President Trump said in a speech to the American Farm Bureau Federation, a sprawling lobbying organization with strong ties to agribusiness. “You are so lucky that I gave you that privilege.”
How lucky are American farms under the new administration? It depends on how big they are.
Critics contend there is little evidence to support that the new administration is fighting for the interests of small family farms—like those that pepper the landscape of the Connecticut River Valley. Large industrial farms and agricultural corporations are a different matter.
In his speech, Trump spotlighted the new tax law, which he described as “5.5 trillion dollars in tax cuts, with most of those benefits going to working families, small businesses, and—who?—family farmers.” But according to a recent report from USDA economists, the new law will actually raise the tax burden for the lowest-earning 20 percent of farming families. The richest 10 percent—primarily monolithic industrial farms and agricorporations—will see 50-70 percent of the law’s benefits.
Trump is the first president in 25 years to address the Farm Bureau’s annual convention. Exit polls in 2016 showed broad support for Trump from many rural farming communities.